The San Francisco Botanical Garden at Strybing Arboretum grows and conserves plants from around the world — more than 8,000 varieties in 55 acres of landscaped gardens and open spaces. Stroll through a grove of coast redwoods and a Mediterranean garden, explore cloud forests from meso-America and southeast Asia, and wander gardens of flora from Chile, Australia, Japan, California, and more. The garden’s special collections include rhododendrons, camellias, magnolias, and succulents. The Garden of Fragrance, designed in 1965 to allow people with visual impairments to enjoy plants through touch and smell, features aromatic plants in beds made of stones from a 12th-century Spanish monastery brought to the United States by newspaper magnate William Randolph Hearst.
On warm days you will often see picnickers and loungers spread out on the Great Meadow. Children in particular love the waterfowl pond, where you’ll see egrets, ducks, and many other birds, and the moon-viewing garden, with its deck overlooking a turtle-shaped island. The Botanical Garden offers lectures, tours, and classes on subjects ranging from gardening to botanical illustration and photography, and its Youth Education Program serves over 10,000 schoolchildren every year through guided walks, storytime walks, a treasure hunt, and the hands-on Children’s Garden.
The Botanical Garden is also home to the Helen Crocker Russell Library of Horticulture, with 27,000 books and 450 periodicals covering all aspects of horticulture, from garden design and pest management to ethnobotany, botanical art, and children’s botanical books. Established in 1972, it is the largest such collection in northern California. The library hosts exhibits of botanical art and offers free children’s story times and family walks.
William Hammond Hall’s original plan for Golden Gate Park included a botanical garden, and in 1890 the park’s superintendent, John McLaren, identified the current site as appropriate and began planting trees. But funds to develop the garden did not become available until Helene Strybing left a bequest to the city in 1926. Construction began in 1937, and the arboretum opened to the public in 1940.
The San Francisco Botanical Garden is near the corner of Ninth Avenue and Lincoln Way in Golden Gate Park.
Most of the Garden’s pathways are wheelchair accessible, and accessible pathways are marked on wayfinding signage with the ISA symbol .
Complimentary wheelchairs are available at either Garden entrance on a first come, first served basis.
Accessible restrooms are located near the Friend Gate, at the North entrance to the Botanical Garden at Martin Luther King Jr. Drive and Tea Garden Drive.
There are also restrooms inside the Library building adjacent to the main entrance, and in the Great Meadow. These restrooms are not accessible.